All the self help gurus tell you to write down your goals. I suppose it’s my turn to stand atop the mountain. Now that I have this nifty new blog, I figured I would take the time to think of some of my goals and resolutions for 2016 (as some of them are finance related, and all have a way of filtering down to my bottom line – whether in business, quality of life, or both).
Plus this is a great way to store and revisit them.
Save at Least 50% of My Net Income
I easily did this last year (although I don’t have any exact numbers) if you factor in paydown of my student loans and car. Some might call that cheating, but as my accountant says “Paying down debt builds your balance sheet the same way saving money does”. So I have decided to include that. And I did a good job paying down my student loan debt last year if I do say so. Mint tells me that I started 2015 with $45,984 in student loans, and ended the year with a balance of $20,199.
As I am self employed and have started to ramp up my income, I am more closely attuned to taxes, specifically (legally) minimizing the amount of taxes I have to pay. I opened a SEP IRA in 2015 and also decided in the middle of the year to make my personal contributions to a traditional IRA rather than the ROTH IRA I had been contributing to for 3 years prior.
Get Free of
Consumer Debt Student Loans
Another lofty ambition, although if I kept the pace I had going in 2015, I should be able to wipe out my student loans without any issue. I also have a car loan with a ~$7,000 balance. The interest rate on that is under 3% and I have another 2 years of payments. I have not attacked that debt aggressively like my student loans, and I am not sure I will. But who knows, if I knock out those student loans and still feel frisky I may pay off my car early.
That would leave me with a modest mortgage that I am OK with continuing to pay for the time being.
No Email on My Phone
I have 2 email accounts that I check regularly: my work account and personal account. I haven’t had work email on my phone for over a year and I don’t miss it. E-mail is a huge time suck, I check it way too much already, and the thought of having my work in my pocket at all times doesn’t particularly excite me.
But I still have had my personal account on my phone, and I check it a dozen or so times a day. And really there is no reason to. 99% of it is not time-sensitive, and it’s just a waste of time so I took my email completely off my phone today and the goal is to not re-install it. Lets see how that goes.
3 Beers a Week
I love beer (and loved drinking in general). I made the realization a few months ago after watching a Casey Neistat video that alcohol kills productivity. So I stopped drinking as much (basically no hard liquor – maybe a beer or 2 a night, and trying to abstain completely when the mood strikes me).
Then I had a chat with my buddy Andrew who told me he has been replacing beer with wine, which immediately got me on a bit of a wine kick.
Long story short I’d like to limit myself to 1 drink a day during the week and 3 beers a week, substituting a little more red wine for beer. Lets see how this goes.
Read 2 Books a Month
I’d like to read at least a couple books a month, which would put me around 25 books for the year. I more or less did that last year. I recently signed up for Goodreads, so I’ll be able to track this a little better and perhaps even write a book review or 2 here. I read a mix of fiction and non fiction, enjoy biographies of successful business people, and generally try to read a little every day (even if it is 15 minutes before bed). I don’t think it will be too tough to reach this goal but lets see.
Swim 3 Times a Week
What list of resolutions would be complete without a fitness related resolution? Although 2015 has generally been a great success for me, one thing that suffered was my fitness. I got fatter. I essentially started a second job over the summer, and working a second job in the evenings cut down on my gym time (which is when I like to work out during the week). But I need to get my act together if I am going to continue to be productive.
I used to swim a few times a week and favored short sprint work outs (10 100 yard laps timed – with the goal of going as fast as possible). I always loved building on progress in the gym, but my inconsistency in the pool made it basically impossible to improve each time I went for a swim. I have decided to take the pressure off of my performance in the pool and instead swim for at least 30 minutes (15 sets of 100 yards at 1:45 a 100). So far I have really enjoyed this more leisurely workout, and I actually feel very relaxed and sore after the swims.
So I’m going to shoot for swimming every Saturday and Sunday and at least 1 day during the week.
Write 1 Article a Week on this Blog
I want to try and write at least one article a week on here. I am hooked on Casey Neistat vlogs, and the guy produces a nicely edited video every day to an audience of millions. I admire Casey for a number of reasons, and I want to pull a page from his book and force myself out of my comfort zone, and to create more and consume less. I’m not ready for an article a day, but I think an 1 article a week is a good goal. So I will resolve to write at least one article a week here and see what happens. I can’t guarantee the quality here – this may be my equivalent of morning pages.
That’s it for now. My goals regurgitated on digital paper. To be updated, amended, and revisited in the future.